Saturday, November 1, 2014

2015(?) Racer Project Preview...

The original plan for the end of 2014's racing season was to finish Race #6 faster than ever, drive home absolutely thrilled, shove the racer back into the shed, tear it down, put the engine and chassis back on the bench, and get the new rear suspension system integrated for MRA Race #1 in 2015. Crashing and having my foot elevated for a few months changed that a bit. The good news is that the crash damage isn't going to cost much at all in time or money. I'm getting back on my feet very soon, which means I'm going back to work, both to my day job and on the racer. I'll get to make a few improvements to the racer that I otherwise wouldn't have done, like make safer pegs, bar ends, and much better mufflers.

While I'm still hoping to get it all done before the end of the 2015 racing season, if it takes another year, hey, that's how it goes. My sponsor (ME) isn't going elsewhere if it takes another year to get it done. That said, stagnation never does a racer (Man OR machine) any good.

Much of the reason for making the racer project was to implement what I learned from the experimental electric recumbent many years ago. But there was another project between these two. It was built in 2006 using cheap and popular aftermarket gas scooter parts. It was intended for racing in what was, back around 2002-2005, a very popular stand-up scooter racing series. I was also hoping to sell copies of it and start a business. Unfortunately, that racing series, along with the entire stand-up scooter fad, imploded in 2006.

It had a very nicely tuned 29cc long stroke engine that really screamed. Thanks to the low profile of the rider, it would top out about 8mph higher than the same engine/spindle combination would go with a normal stand-up scooter. And having your butt a few inches off the ground made the sensation of speed a lot more thrilling than the numbers would suggest. Being direct drive, it had to be push started by a second person - it was no good on the street, where it was probably way too dangerous to operate. The 2 wheel steering system both made it much easier to balance and corner much harder with less drama. It made front end slides very easy to manage. Feeling the back end steer into a corner was a little unnerving at first, but after a few minutes of riding, the improved stability and control made it a lot more fun to ride hard. Yes, the foot boom folded up, making it easy to toss into the back seat of any car. The whole thing weighed less than an awful lot of pedal powered recumbents.

This, along with the experimental electric recumbent, were supposed to be featured in a certain high circulation motorcycle magazine with the article written by a certain highly regarded (And personal favorite) motorcycle technical writer. But the magazine's top editor, I'm told, didn't think they were motorcycley enough, so the article was shot down. But they did publish a splended article about a lovely 2 cylinder Whizzer powered bicycle - no, I don't get it, either. I was holding on to these images for that article, but I'm guessing that, after 8 years with no contact from them about it (Even after the editor who shot it down got fired by one of the magazine's many owners since then), I'm guessing there's nothing to lose by publishing them now.

This ended up hanging over my desk as a decoration, conversation piece, and inspiration for designing, making, and racing something a lot more serious at serious speeds on a serious race track. But I didn't want to get the reputation of someone who started out with what the easily confused might see as silly toys, so it was deleted from this site. It also served as a depressing reminder of work that didn't generate the expected career change, so I ended up parting it out in 2010 and throwing out the rest, much to my current regret. While it was as low tech as a motor vehicle can get, it was still fun, interesting, and very effective. It also would have been the most fun way possible to get kicked out of the pits at High Plains Raceway. 

Live and learn and live some more...